There were people from many counties in Paris watching the soccer tournament between Germany and France. There were people from many religions walking through shops and dinning at restaurants. There were people from every gender, academic ability and creative persuasion at the night clubs. The attacks on 9/11 were not attacks against Americans. The attacks in Paris were not attacks against France. These attacks were both attacks against masses of people from diverse countries, races, and religions who are capable of walking together peacefully in Paris.
I have a family member who shared the comment, “Pray for Paris.” I liked her comment. I understand her, and agree. She is right, in her heart felt gift of love and compassion for those who have suffered in the attacks in Paris. I have a friend who shared the thought, “Don’t pray for Paris. Religion is the problem in the first place.” I liked her comment. I understand her, and she is right.
I went to a mosque with a friend who shared her atheistic perspectives. This was just after 9/11. It was a part of the curriculum of the Unitarian youth group. We attended the services of a different religious tradition every other week. The Muslims we encountered were as interested and leery of us as we were of them. They wanted to know who the Unitarians are, and what they believe. I explained that the Unitarians do not have a set religious doctrine. They champion the support of an individual spiritual journey. There may be in a congregation of Unitarians a Buddhist, Pagan, Christian and Atheist sitting in the same pew as close friends. The Unitarians do have their commonly held commitment to human rights, compassion and freedoms, and a dedication to our responsibility to the Earth.
The Muslims and the Unitarians found agreement on many philosophies, God may, after all, be called by many names. But one of the Muslim women was concerned that the atheists were given an equal time at our pulpit. The woman asked how anyone could look into the sky and not be awe struck and compelled to acknowledge the infinite mastery of God. I explained my experience with the atheists in my congregation. One who has personified the creator looks into the night sky and wonders how anyone could deny the infinite wonder of God’s creation. An atheist looks into the night sky and recognizes the marvelous infinite majesty of the universe and asks how anyone could believe that the personification of a man could have created the magnificent infinite Universe. I look into the magnificent beauty of the night sky and marvel that I am one with such infinite glory as the sacred Universe. I recognize the universe to be conscious and divine. In this case our hands are the hands of God. We are responsible for the flaws and the solutions. The atheists I know take great care in recognizing their own personal responsibility in creating a better world. This I have in common with my atheist friends.
Muslims and Unitarians spoke that day. We shared our perspectives. We learned from one another. We agreed and disagreed. One of my atheist Unitarian friends asked what passages from the Quran led to the creation of the notion of jihad. We sat horrified to hear words about how the infidels would be destroyed “in a single mighty blast.” The Muslims watched, with fear, as fear rose in the eyes of their guests and they assured us that Allah is “most merciful.” None of my Unitarian friends were converted to Islam that day, but both my Unitarian friends and my new Muslim friends were grateful for the opportunity to discuss our differences peacefully, with recognition of the humanity in one another.
Refugees are escaping the same weeds we are all horrified by. They run from the sociopathic notion that fear is the best way of controlling masses. To win this war against evil we need to know our enemy. The book by George Orwell, 1984, was written with the events of WWII in mind. It was a foreseeing of consequences if the Nazis won. It is worth noting in this case that the soldiers who fought in endless senseless wars, in 1984, were not fighting for a cause. They fought for their lives, period. Who then is our enemy? Who is it that humanity would be justified in declaring war against? The answer lies in the question. The enemies of humanity, are those who have removed themselves from membership within the category of humanity.
World War III will not be fought country against country, culture against culture, religion against religion. Too many have evolved. Too many know the difference between good and evil, and that good does not reside solely in the category of one religion, race, or culture.
The solution to terrorism is to walk in the face of terrorism united, as one people, under the category of Humanity. The attacks on 9/11 were not attacks against Americans. The attacks in Paris were not attacks against France. These attacks were both attacks against masses of people from diverse countries, races, and religions who are capable of walking together peacefully in Paris.
The solution to terrorism is to walk in the countries terrorized by terrorists as tourists who have been welcomed there by our fellow humans who call these countries home. Recognize the liberty of free elections in those countries, by recognizing elected leaders among those who call these countries home and who would be best qualified to defend their countries against enemies of humanity. An intelligent humanist who has come to our country as a refugee would understand well what is needed to bring liberty to the Middle East. Recognize only those leaders who understand that seeing humanity in humanity is the gate to heaven. Even an atheist would call a world where peace, human rights, and freedoms, are defended globally, heaven.
My Pagan friend saw a day where there would be masses of people who would commit suicide. The grief and tragedy would be stunning. There would be a great deal of activity in the spirit dimension as large populations of souls would pass over. There would be a great need to help them with the transition. Those who pass would quickly join the efforts and help others who are passing over. My Pagan friend assured me that there would be no judgement against those committing suicide. Our greatest souls would be among them. I could not understand how this could be, but I am beginning to. Walking in the face of terrorism, unarmed, would be suicide.
A Buddhist Parable:
A horrific warrior moved though countries slaughtering entire villages and proudly counting the number of those he had killed with his own sword. He had a goal to kill a certain number of millions at his own hand, and he was close to reaching that goal. In a village that was in the path of his destruction there lived a monk, highly respected among the people. The people gathered what they could carry and ran from the village in fear of the approaching doom, but the monk knelt in the center of the street and waited. The warrior rode in to find the village empty, except for this single monk kneeling in the open street. The warrior rose his sword and announced proudly that this monk would be the one to fulfill his goal of so many million dead at his own hand. Then he stopped to ask the monk why he did not run with the other villagers, nor stand to fight. The monk simply said, “I am not afraid to die.” The warrior was awe struck and became a most devout student of the monk’s teachings.